The Knicks seemed primed for a star-studded summer. One way or another, they seem confident in their chances to land a star free agent. The market will have plenty of names to offer, the Knicks have made way for two of them.
In a story by ESPN's Ian Begley, there are only really three players New York will consider filling those spots with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard.
"It would surprise some opposing executives if the Knicks signed a player other than Durant, Irving or Leonard to a long-term contract this summer. Those executives expect the Knicks to use their projected league-high $74 million in cap room in other ways this summer -- acquiring a draft pick in a salary dump, signing players to short-term deals -- if they miss out on those top free-agent targets."
For New York, there is no "Plan B" in terms of acquiring stars. Other notable names outside of the big three -- names like Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and D'Angelo Russell -- will likely get overlooked by the Knicks, even if they miss out on their primary targets.
For them, it is either sign one of KD, Kyrie, or Kawhi or face another year of rebuilding via trades and salary dumps.
It is one heck of an ultimatum for the Knicks, get one of the Top 10 players in the game or continue to tank, but it should not be all that shocking. With as much hype that has been made surrounding the upcoming summer for New York, signing anybody outside those big three would be underachieving anyway.